KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A human male’s skull was found Wednesday downstream from clothing, a revolver and a pocket knife in a remote area of Morgan County where investigators were searching for a man missing since 2017.

District Attorney General Russell Johnson released the findings on social media. Johnson, who oversees Loudon, Roane, Morgan and Meigs counties, says the items were found near a waterfall, and that they were identified as belongings of Kevin Hamby.

Hamby was last seen leaving his home on an ATV in November 2017. The all-terrain vehicle and a shoe belonging to Hamby were discovered Monday.

“This cannot be identified as being the skull of Kevin Hamby, yet,” Johnson said. “The skull will be transferred to the Knox County Forensic Center to be sent on to Texas for DNA comparison testing.”

Johnson said a University of Tennessee anthropology professor was able to identify the skull as belonging to a human male.

Morgan County Sheriff Wayne Potter says DNA comparison results could take up to a year.

Hamby’s disappearance has brought about many theories over the years, but authorities say this was most likely nothing more than an accident. Potter says the findings this week show no signs of foul play.

“There’s a lot of speculation out there. There’s a lot of what I call ‘Facebook investigators.’ The truth is going to come out if we follow the facts. And that’s where we need to stay at, is on target and follow the facts,” Potter said.

Kevin Hamby’s family speaks about this week’s developments

After three years of no answers, this week’s findings uncovered painful memories for the family, but also gave the investigation new life.

“Three years it was crazy not knowing every night going to sleep where my father was at,” said Bailey Craigo, Hamby’s stepson. “Everybody keeps saying well you found closure finally. We truly haven’t because we don’t know what happened, how it happened, the day it happened, it’s just a whole other story.”

All the family can do now is wait for DNA results.

“It’s just a whole new pain that opened up in all of our worlds and we’re just trying to figure it out and it’s just something we’re going to have to deal with again,” Craigo said.

The search will continue Saturday, March 27. Investigators are bringing in a Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) to continue searching the remote area of Pilot Mountain where Hamby’s belongings and the unidentified skull were found.

This is a developing story.